Chachic's Book Nook


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National Book Store’s #ReadOutLoudChallenge

National Book Store, the most popular bookstore in the Philippines, is hosting a #ReadOutLoudChallenge. They are inviting every reader to post a video on Facebook or Instagram, reading a few lines from their favorite books, using the mentioned hashtag. For every 75 videos posted, they will help build one public school library. The goal is to reach 75,000 videos. This is a pretty big deal since I’ve talked about how public libraries aren’t very common (nor are they well-supplied) so anything that would help promote reading in the country is a good thing. Anyone can join! Just make sure your post is visible to the public. If you do decide to join, please feel free to send me a link. 🙂

National Book Store ReadOutLoudChallenge

My entry is posted on Instagram and linked below. For those of you who are wondering how my name is pronounced or what my voice sounds like, you can check out my video. Good thing I have a friend who knows her way around shooting and editing videos because I wouldn’t have been able to do come up with something this professional looking otherwise. We did it in one take though, so it’s not super polished. It’s probably obvious that I’m sitting in my desk at work, with my mini lomo wall as the background. As always, it feels a little weird seeing myself on video. 😛

@nbsalert's #ReadOutLoudChallenge accepted! I was challenge by @fantaghiro23 to participate - for every 75 videos posted, National Bookstore will help set up a library in a public school, and the goal is to reach 7,500 videos!📚📖 I've mentioned more than once that the Philippines doesn't have good public libraries, so any initiative that helps give children access to books is awesome. I read from one of my favorite @minavesguerra books, Learning to Fall, which has a book blogger heroine.💖 I challenge everyone to do this because more videos means more libraries! But I specifically challenge @dementedchris @alexalovesbooks @bookthingo. . . Special thanks to multimedia expert @karen_mrsg for shooting this video! 🙌 . . . #NationalBookstore #readoutloud #reading #bookblogger #booknerd #bibliophile #IGbooks #bookstagram #bookworm #instabooks #romance #romanceclass #LearningtoFall #MinaVEsguerra

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I know I keep apologizing for not being more active on WordPress lately, but there’s just so much going on in real life that I can’t keep up! Happy to report that I’m still plugged into the book blogosphere through Twitter, Litsy (username: Chachic), and Instagram because I have all of those on my smartphone. Click here, here, here, here, and here, to see some samples of my posts on Litsy, where you’ll be able to see that I’ve learned to utilize scrapbook embellishments in my books pics. So even if I’m not on WordPress a lot, I hope I still get to see all of you in all those other channels. 🙂


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#romanceclass Meet Up at Books and Borders

According to the group’s website, #romanceclass are Filipinos who read and write romance and publish them independently. I know a few of the members through my blog and I’ve been jealous of all the meet-ups and activities that they’ve been having on a regular basis. Which was why I was thrilled to find out that there was going to be a meet up during the time I’m on vacation in Manila. We met last May 21 at the Books and Borders branch in Tomas Morato. A book cafe is the perfect location for a meet up with romance readers and authors. Here’s a picture of the cafe from my previous visit:

Book and Borders - tables

Book and Borders - couch

We talked about books, of course. From romance to everything else that we’ve read or we’re planning to read. We talked about the type of romances and type of heroes we like. And we also talked about the most random things, just anything that we could think of. We also passed around books and swag that we wanted to pass on to fellow readers. Being based in Singapore, I don’t get to attend bookish meet ups like this as often as I would want to, so I was somewhat starved for that kind of conversation. I think it goes without saying that I had a great time! Here’s a group picture from Kat of Book Thingo:

romanceclass meet up - May 2016

From left to right: Agay, Chris, Kim, Anna, Kat, Mina, Jothee, Tina, Ron and me. We all look like we’re having fun, right? My haul included signed books, a magazine, bookmarks, postcards, shortbread and Philippine MANGOES! Thank you for the goodies, friends. 🙂

#romanceclass - May 2016 haul

I also just wanted to share the awesomeness that is the back cover of Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera, which includes a quote from my review of the book:

Choco Chip Hips - back copy

Too bad it’s a limited indie edition and there probably wouldn’t be more copies of it. I bought three to give to my friends! 😀


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Favorite Literary Couples VII

A few days ago, I posted a list of some of my favorite couples from non-romance books. Today, I’m back to present a list that has become one of my blog traditions. Every year on Valentine’s Day, I post a list of fictional couples I’ve loved from books that I’ve read in the previous year. You can check out posts from years past through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. I’m a bit surprised that this is the seventh version of this list, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been blogging that long! Well, that’s a good thing, right? That means it still hasn’t gotten old for me and I’m having fun. 😀


Image from We Heart It

Steph and Grayson from Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra – Filipino romance represent! How can I not love #TeamStayson? Book blogger heroine who’s also an artist but is clueless about what she wants to do with her life, of course I can totally relate to her. Add in a hot rugby player as her hero and I’m one happy reader. This has also been one of my favorite titles to give as a gift to blogging buddies because 1) it’s written by a Filipino author and 2) it has a book blogger (on hiatus) MC.

Lainie and Richard from Act Like It by Lucy Parker – I’m a fan of certain tropes in romance if they’re done well, and Act Like It has two of them which I really enjoyed: a pretend relationship and a brooding, arrogant, Darcy-esque male lead. Plus it has a theater setting and I’m a big fan of musicals. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, and I couldn’t wait to see what Lucy Parker would write next.

Jess and Damien from A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand – I am huge Laura Florand fangirl and I love her La vie en Roses series a tiny bit more than her Amour et Chocolat books. I don’t know how Laura does it but she achieves the perfect balance between strength and vulnerability in her characters. I love how Jess and Damien present a tough persona to the rest of the world, but they let their guard down around each other. As always, I also loved the Provence setting of the book and hints of a fairy tale within the story.

Agnieszka and Sarkan from Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I was blown away by the amazing storytelling in Uprooted and it reminded me of some of my favorite authors like Robin McKinley, Juliet Marillier and Diana Wynne Jones. I really enjoyed the development of Agnieszka and Sarkan’s relationship. Sarkan started as a reluctant mentor, and through their various adventures together, he gradually respects and admires Agnieszka. I’m delighted to have discovered another fictional couple in a non-romance book to love. I need to find more of those!

Petey and Finn from Bone Gap by Laura Ruby – Bone Gap was one of my favorite reads last year and while I haven’t written a review for it, I would enthusiastically recommend it to any fantasy or fairy tale retelling fan. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it. Laura Ruby’s writing is definitely unique. I loved the slow burn romance between two complex characters, Petey and Finn, who deserved all the love that they could get.

Runners-up for the past year are:
Skylar and Josh from I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Hannah and Garrett from The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Ellie and Knox from Sacked by Jen Frederick
Amy and Dax from Sleeping with Her Enemy by Jenny Holiday
The couple featured in Soppy by Philippa Rice

Who are your favorite fictional couples from books that you’ve read within the previous year? Did you do anything special this Valentine’s weekend? I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, it was just a usual Sunday for me but I did grab some nice chocolates as a treat. And I’ve been reading romance novels. 🙂 Happy Hearts Day, everyone!


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Ten Quotes I Liked from Books I Read in the Past Year

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I like taking note of passages that I like (I highlight them when I’m reading on my Kindle) whenever I read books. So this was a fun topic for me to put together. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite quotes from books that I’ve read in 2015:

Learning to FallLearning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

In theory, blogging shouldn’t take a lot of time. Read a book, then write about it. Simple, right? Obligation fulfilled to the publisher or author who sent the book, to the readers who read the blog.

Not quite.

Blogging found me at a time when I needed people. I knew this, didn’t need a therapist to tell me. Moving to another state, starting college, figuring out how to be a fully functional adult and artist… there was so much comfort in being friends with people who liked the same things. Believe me, I tried being friends with real people, but the friendship offers stopped coming when I missed one too many dorm parties.

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Choco Chip HipsChoco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera

I looked at the mug of thick, hot chocolate, like I was seeing it for the first time. The sides of the cup were smudged with dark brown liquid, dotted with grains. To get this thick consistency, you had to melt the tablea in water with milk, stirring the pot tirelessly with a wooden molonillo. You whisked and whisked until your arms protested, until the ingredients melded in a rich and silky brown. It was a labor of love.

I pulled the mug closer, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and inhaled. It smelled – what was it, exactly? – full. It smelled so many things: dark, earthy, and fruity. I held the rim to my lips and took a long, thoughtful sip.

“It’s not as sweet as you’re used to,” Dad said apologetically.

It tasted a hint of the sweet, a hint of the bitter – the way life always had been.

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Loveless Childless CluelessLoveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

The sea is for me. I make this declaration silently, standing chest-deep in the water, staring at that point where the horizon meets the sea. I close my eyes and revel in my favorite natural sound in the world – the waves. It’s a hypnotic rhythm, a soothing rhythm, the sweetest, I’m-so-glad-I’m-alive rhythm.

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I'll Meet You ThereI’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

In my essay for San Fran, I’d written about how I’d always felt like there was something magical about taking bits and pieces of the world around me and creating something whole. It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.

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Once Upon a RoseOnce Upon a Rose by Laura Florand

She took a deep breath, and that sense of nothing shimmered like a mirage before all the things that filled her lungs. An air rich with scents and with the vitality of the man beside her. Cliff-hills rose and narrowed around them as they headed into the pass that led out of the valley. All the rest of the world seemed so far away here. Songs lurked in the scents of rosemary and thyme and pine and roses in this car, teasing at her to hit the right note and distill their essence into words and melody. That would be fun, to capture a scent in song, and nobody else but her might ever even realize what perfume teased through the notes.

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A Wish Upon JasmineA Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand

Sexy and sophisticated required so much work and attention to unimportant things, like how much you ate and how you fixed your hair. It was a particular skill, requiring a certain amount of luck in your genetics and then, exactly like most other accomplishments, at least seventy-five percent hard work, practice, and persistence.

And she’d chosen to practice something else, something that mattered to her more. Those models who looked so great as they marketed her perfumes to the public could no more have made a perfume than she could have looked that sleek and alluring. They worked in symbiosis, she and those models, but she was the secret element of that symbiosis, the elusive magic, and they were the glamorous show.

So naturally, it made sense to assume that the elegant Damien Rosier might prefer the glamor.

And yet… here they both were. Together.

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Bone GapBone Gap by Laura Ruby

She closed the book and smoothed the quilt on her bed. Unlike the girl in the novel, she hadn’t made it herself, knew little about quilting or sewing or craftiness. And unlike the girl in the novel, she understood heat and wind more than ice and snow, and had no intention of breaking anyone’s heart, except maybe her own. Even Get Real had said nothing about this, about sitting on your bed in your room, stomach and head buzzing, nerves thrumming, heart beating in your earlobes and your toes, hoping so hard that there was one boy out there who wanted you as much as you wanted him, because you wouldn’t know what you would do with yourself if this were not true.

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Archivist WaspArchivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Find the girl with the knife in her belt and the scars on her face, they told me. She’s different from the other girls who’d come before her, even though they’d carried the same knife, worn the same scars. She helps the dead, when she can, even when the living punish her for it. She probably will not want to be found. But she is worth finding.

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UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

He looked at me, baffled and for the first time uncertain, as though he had stumbled into something, unprepared. His long narrow hands were cradled around mine, both of us holding the rose together. Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song. I was abruptly too hot, and strangely conscious of myself. I pulled my hands free.

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Girl Before a MirrorGirl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

What do I want?

I want to be happy and not feel guilty about it. I want to be curious without being called indulgent. I want to be accepted regardless of what I look like, what I do for a living, my marital status, whether I have kids, or whether you think I’m nice enough, hospitable enough, or humble enough to measure up to your impossible standards. I want purpose. I want contentment. I want to be loved and give love unreservedly in return. I want to be seen, I want to matter. I want freedom.

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What about the rest of you, what are some of quotes you’ve liked from books that you’ve read this year?


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Addison Hill Series by Mina V. Esguerra

I’ve been meaning to review Mina V. Esguerra’s Addison Hill series for a while now but real life keeps getting in the way. I read the books months ago, and now the series has been revamped with new covers and new titles. As mentioned in my cover reveal posts, I really like how there’s a consistent look and feel to the covers of these books. I’ve been reading and enjoying Mina’s books since I discovered Fairy Tale Fail five years ago (wow, I didn’t realize it’s been that long). I like how she keeps branching out to try different things like with these Addison Hill books which are new adult romance and set in the US, instead of the Philippines. With American characters instead of Filipino characters. Like with the rest of her earlier books, I read each of these pretty quickly… definitely faster than it took to write their reviews.

Falling Hard shareFalling Hard
She knows it won’t last…

Nicholas Cevasco is unlike anyone Daria Kramer has ever dated. But they aren’t really even dating – a fast fling is all they have time for. He’s heading to Japan to play pro rugby, and she’s graduating in three weeks with plans of her own.

That doesn’t mean they can’t have fun… as long as they don’t fall hard.

This title was previously published as The Harder We Fall.

I had an ARC of Falling Hard for months. I have no idea why I kept putting it off, I think I just wasn’t in the mood to pick it up. I felt like reading something light and fun just as my new Kindle Paperwhite arrived so this title had the honor of being the first book I read on it. I literally finished this book in one sitting. I think I started reading it while having dinner and finished it before going to bed. Aside from being set in the US, other factors that made this book different from Mina’s earlier titles are: 1) it’s a lot steamier *fans self* and 2) it’s sports romance.

Surely there was a pulsing heart inside of this stinking pile of guys on the ground. Massive, sweating, dirty, powerful, virile pile of… what?

I knew next to nothing about rugby but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. It was easy to like Nicholas and Daria, and I liked how the trope of the two of them being from different social circles played out. It felt natural, and it was nice that there wasn’t any unnecessary drama. They knew from the start what they were getting into, and what conflicts might arise. Even though this was a short book, I also liked that the theme of trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives was present in the story. I think that’s always something that new adults worry about. I obviously enjoyed reading Falling Hard and was immediately curious about the rest of the titles in the series. I jumped right into the second book after reading this first one.

Fallen Again shareFallen Again
It’s too easy to fall in love with Jake. Don’t do it.

Despite living in two different countries, Lindsay Kresta and Jake Berkeley have loved each other as friends since their senior year in college. She’s his emergency contact, his “zombie apocalypse buddy,” and his holiday dinner companion.

But now that he’s known as Jacob Berkeley, star of a wildly successful TV show, he shows up with big news days before her big work conference. He wants to save forests again, work in environmental research…and he wants her.

Don’t fall in love with Jake. Easier said than done.

This title was previously published as Never Just Friends.

Just like Falling Hard, I finished reading Fallen Again one sitting (those titles can get a little confusing). I liked the first book better but this was still a fun read. Jake and Lindsay have been friends for years, they didn’t want to label themselves as best friends so they call themselves zombie apocalypse partners instead. They never really talked about whether they can date each other, but both of them have thought about it. I liked Jake’s no-nonsense approach to this – that he finally made a move because he knew he wanted to be with Lindsay and he wanted to see if she felt the same way. Similar to the first book, I felt like there was no unnecessary drama in their story, more of a slow realization (in Linday’s part, because Jake was already convinced) of how things could be if they gave themselves the chance to be together. I also liked how involved Lindsay’s family is in their friendship/relationship. It was interesting to read about Lindsay’s job and the development work that she does. Nice way of making people more aware of the difficulties in conservation and preservation work. I thought it was nice that Jake is also interested in that line of work and they’re thrown together when he becomes a spokesperson for Lindsay’s firm. I think it’s kind of hot that Jake is a famous actor who wants to be in development. Another short and fun installment in Mina’s Addison Hill series.

Learning to FallLearning to Fall
“Go out with a stereotypical romance novel hero WHO ISN’T YOUR TYPE.”

Avid reader and art student Steph is participating in a monthly blog challenge to Live Like Fiction, and this was the task for October. When Grayson, former co-captain of her university rugby team, walks into her class, she knows it’s meant to be – she has to go out with this guy. Even if she’s never been attracted to big, hunky, athletic types. With Grayson’s “player” reputation off the field, Steph thinks he’ll be good for one date that’ll be worth blogging about, and that’s it.

But you know how it goes: Soon, it becomes more than just one date – and Steph and Grayson are caught up in “living like fiction.” How long can they keep up playing their roles, before reality steps in?

This title was previously called as Someone Else’s Fantasy.

So one day, I asked Mina if she’ll ever consider writing a main character who was a book blogger. I told her that I don’t think I’ve read a book with a book blogger MC before. A few months (or about a year?) later, Learning to Fall is out in the wild! I could really relate to Steph’s life as a book blogger, especially since she’s a blogger on hiatus. So many of my blogging buddies have also gone on breaks or have stopped blogging altogether and I have to admit that I’ve also thought about doing that. It’s pretty much a given that I loved that Steph is a big fan of books and would happily spend hours reading. I also thought it was awesome that through her blog, she’s found good friends who know her so well. Because that’s something that have also happened with me. I feel like we do reveal more of ourselves than we realize through book reviews because our thoughts and feelings about books are very personal (I think I can write a whole blog post about this topic). A non-spoilery snippet:

In theory, blogging shouldn’t take a lot of time. Read a book, then write about it. Simple, right? Obligation fulfilled to the publisher or author who sent the book, to the readers who read the blog.

Not quite.

Blogging found me at a time when I needed people. I knew this, didn’t need a therapist to tell me. Moving to another state, starting college, figuring out how to be a fully functional adult and artist… there was so much comfort in being friends with people who liked the same things. Believe me, I tried being friends with real people, but the friendship offers stopped coming when I missed one too many dorm parties.

I think Mina was able to portray a pretty accurate depiction of Steph’s blogging life. Steph wasn’t the only one I liked in this book, I thought Grayson was a great guy too. A hot athlete who’s also very sweet… what’s not to like? He’s pretty driven too. He knows what he wants and tries to go after them, the challenge is that he seems to want too many things that can’t be balanced together. From their meet cute until the end of the book, I was rooting for these two to find a way to be together. As with the earlier titles in the series, Steph and Grayson also had to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives after college. Again, I thought it was realistic for characters in that age bracket to be in that kind of mindset. Like the earlier two titles in the series, I enjoyed reading Learning to Fall. I liked the book blogging aspect of it so much that I sent it off as a Kindle gift to my own blogger friends.


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Cover Reveal: Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

I previously posted the covers for the first two books in the Addison Hill new adult series by Mina V. Esguerra, and today, we are presented with the cover for the third book: Learning to Fall. I’m very excited for this book to be released in the wild (release date is sometime next week) because it has one thing that I’ve always wanted to seen in the books that I read: a book blogger main character! One day, I asked Mina if she would ever consider writing a book with a book blogger for an MC and *BOOM*, here we are today.

Learning to Fall

About Learning to Fall

“Go out with a stereotypical romance novel hero WHO ISN’T YOUR TYPE.”

Avid reader and art student Steph is participating in a monthly blog challenge to Live Like Fiction, and this was the task for October. When Grayson, former co-captain of her university rugby team, walks into her class, she knows it’s meant to be – she has to go out with this guy. Even if she’s never been attracted to big, hunky, athletic types. With Grayson’s “player” reputation off the field, Steph thinks he’ll be good for one date that’ll be worth blogging about, and that’s it.

But you know how it goes: Soon, it becomes more than just one date – and Steph and Grayson are caught up in “living like fiction.” How long can they keep up playing their roles, before reality steps in?

This title was previously published as Someone Else’s Fantasy.

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I read an early copy of this, and I’m planning to review this with the rest of the series. I just need to find time to sit down and write those reviews! So what do you guys think of this cover? I really like the consistency in the designs of all the Addison Hill books – mint and white color scheme, couples kissing, pictures edited in the same style (high contrast, high brightness, low saturation). I hope the relaunch of these titles will encourage more readers to pick up the books. 😀